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Tennessee State Board of Education April 16, 2010

Agenda Final Reading Item: IV. H.

Praxis Exam Passing Score, Special Education Exams, Policy

The Background: Currently, the State of Tennessee requires three Praxis II specialty exams each for Special Education: Modified K-12 and Special Education: Comprehensive PreK-12. These exams are:

Modified 0353 0542 0201 Comprehensive - 0353 0544 0201 ­ Education of Exceptional Students: Core Content Knowledge ­ Education of Exceptional Students: Mild to Moderate Disabilities ­ Reading Across the Curriculum: Elementary - Education of Exceptional Students: Core Content Knowledge ­ Education of Exceptional Students: Severe to Profound Disabilities ­ Reading Across the Curriculum: Elementary

Educational Testing Service (ETS) has undergone a test revision which has resulted in one exam designed to assess two of these areas. The new exams will be: Modified 0543 ­ Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild-to-Moderate Applications (This test will replace 0353 and 0542 for the TN Modified PreK-12 endorsement.) ­ Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe-to-Profound Applications (Replaces 0353 and 0544 for Comprehensive PK-12)

Comprehensive - 0545

As stated by ETS consultant: "What will happen for Tennessee test-takers is that in the licensure areas where the state of TN requires tests 0353 and 0542, those tests have been combined to cover what was assessed in test 0543. In the licensure areas where the state of TN requires tests 0353 and 0544, those tests have been combined to make test 0545. In essence, candidates will be taking one less test for licensure in those respective areas."

To support the decision-making process for state departments of education with regard to establishing passing scores, or cut scores, for two assessments in the Praxis Series -- a) Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild-to-Moderate Applications (0543) and b) Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe-to-Profound Applications (0545) -- research staff from Educational Testing Service (ETS) designed and conducted multi-state standard setting studies for each assessment. The studies also collected content-related validity evidence to confirm the importance of the content specifications for entry-level special education teachers. The standard setting studies involved two expert panels for each assessment, comprised of teachers, administrators and college faculty. The recommended cut scores for each panel, as well as the average cut score across the two panels, are provided to help state departments of education determine appropriate cut (or passing) scores.

The recommended cut scores for each panel, as well as the average cut score across the two panels, are provided to help state departments of education determine appropriate cut (or passing) scores. For Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Mild-to-Moderate Applications (0543), the average recommended cut score is 67 (on the raw score metric), which represents 63% of total available 107 raw score points (the recommended cut scores for Panels 1 and 2 are 67 and 68, respectively). The scaled score associated with a raw score of 67 is a passing score of 158. For Praxis Special Education: Core Knowledge and Severe-to-Profound Applications (0545), the average recommended cut score is 67 (on the raw score metric), which represents 63% of total available 107 raw score points (the recommended cut scores for Panels 1 and 2 are 69 and 65, respectively). The scaled score associated with a raw score of 67 is a passing score of 158. Panelists judged the extent to which the knowledge and/or skills reflected by the content specifications for each assessment were important for entry-level special education teachers. The favorable judgments of the panelists provided additional evidence that the content of both assessments are important for beginning practice. Department staff have studied this report and have considered their recommendations along with the pass rates on the current Special Education exams. It is has been common practice for the initial passing score for a new Praxis exam to be recommended at one Standard Error of Measurement (SEM) below a panel recommendation. This practice allows for scores to be raised if it appears the pass rates are too high, rather than having to lower scores at a later date. Looking at 1 SEM below the panel recommendations, the SDE staff would propose: SPED: Core Knowledge and Mild-to-Modified - Cut Score = 63 - Scaled Score Equivalent = 153 (cut score of 63 represents 59% of total available 107 raw points) SPED: Core Knowledge and Severe-to-Profound - Cut Score = 63 - Scaled Score Equivalent = 153 (cut score of 63 represents 59% of total available 107 raw points) Master Plan Connection: This item supports the Master Plan by providing for assessment of beginning level competence of Tennessee licensed Special Educators.

The Recommendation: The State Department of Education staff recommends adoption of this item on final reading. The SBE staff concurs with this recommendation.

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